No news—which there hasn’t been on this blog for awhile—is good news, if you have the patience to think of slow, incremental, watching-grass grow news as good news. (It is.) Brooke’s had the trach downsized; this is good, and he's almost back up to where he was before, a bunch of hours off the vent. But the new development is the introduction of a speaking valve: this is a one-way cap that’s put over the opening to the trach, allowing him to breathe air in but forcing him to breathe it out through his mouth and nose, the way we normally do. This is of course extremely difficult when you’ve been doing it another way for almost a year, and also when your diaphragm hasn’t built up enough strength yet to exhale with real force. Just the same, when he’s on the speaking valve—just a few minutes at first, then a handful more, now about 45 minutes at a time, he can speak with his own voice. In sentences. Even paragraphs. And that’s the good news.
Son Mike and granddaughter Kendra (just finishing high school, looking carefully at colleges) will be here Friday and Saturday while Peggy’s away giving a talk in Frankfurt. If you want to arrange something with Brooke over the weekend, e-mail Mike at email@example.com or Brooke’s new Personal Assistant & Nurse Julia Strompolos at firstname.lastname@example.org, or try cellphoning me 801-824-9160 if you don’t think it’s the middle of the night in Europe.
And soon, it’ll be possible to talk to Brooke directly even while he’s trach-masking off the vent.